The Caribbean welcomes the Cradle to Cradle production method: The continuation of a best practice

Thursday, October 03, 2013

ECPA Caribbean Man
ager, Kevin de Cuba, traveled to Trinidad & Tobago on August 21-23 to introduce the Closed Loop Cycle Production concept (CLCP) to key stakeholders from the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation network. This project was successfully implemented in Ecuador and will be replicated in Trinidad and Tobago, thus contributing to the raising awareness and building capacity on innovative sustainable design and production approaches captured in the CLCP model in Caribbean nations.

Many small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) throughout the Americas implement inefficient design and production methods that result in low productivity, excess waste, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other types of environmental pollution. CLCP is inspired by the innovative and increasingly evolving Cradle-to-Cradle design and production paradigm, which fundamentally seeks to sustainably design and produce goods. Said methodology focuses on utilizing production materials that retain their value upon reaching the end of a product’s life cycle and remain as valuable nutrients. The CLCP concept comprises the Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) certification process—a major tool to be promoted by this project. In the long term, this sustainable production project will offer an incentive for nations to adopt and gradually expand the implementation of CLCP production practices, also known as circular economies. The project offers countless benefits such as curbing the constant extraction of increasingly scarce commodities, significantly reducing energy and water requirements, abating GHG emissions released through manufacturing processes, ameliorating solid and water waste management, and mitigating numerous other environmental impacts. All these benefits may be achieved while at the same time increasing SMEs’ profits through cost savings.

Between 2011-2013, the OAS Department of Sustainable Development, in close collaboration with the
Coordinating Ministry of Production, Employment and Competitiveness (MCPEC) of Ecuador, carried out the certification of the first Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) production process in Latin America and the Caribbean with the aim to introduce and showcase the viability of the CLCP design method in the production sector. This pilot initiative served as an innovative business development tool to improve energy efficiency and environmental performance and to increase the productivity, competitiveness and sustainability of SMEs. The project resulted in the creation and approval of a National Closed Looped Cycle Production Program and the first C2C certification of a packaging product in Latin America and the Caribbean. These outstanding outcomes propelled the creation of a new Cleaner Production Center in Ecuador and the inclusion of a dedicated chapter/text in the nation’s National Development Plan—the “Plan para el Buen Vivir 2013-2017“.